By Michael Tremoglie, Published: January 8, 2015 at 7:15 AM
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A newly released report from Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) shows that the Colorado and Washington experiments to legalize recreational marijuana have been an abject failure. Pot availability has created more problems than it solved, the organization asserts.
The report, dated January 5, claims that legalization has been problematic. Across every area of comparison, Project SAM says, the deleterious behavior associated with marijuana use has increased. The report outlines both the knowns and the unknowns of marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and points out what further study is needed to accurately evaluate the consequences and costs.
The authors refute statements made by pro-legalization campaigners, particularly the claim that crime is reduced in Colorado as a result of legalization.
Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida co-founder of SAM, told MainStreet that the claim of crime reduction is misleading.
“It is specious to say that legalization has caused crime reduction,” he said. “There is both a selective use of current data and a lack of an adequate comparable time period to be able to say there is a trend.”
“The Denver Police statistics show that summing across all crime types — about 35 in all — the crime rate is up almost 7% compared with the same period last year,” he added. “Interestingly, crimes such as public drunkenness are up 237%, and drug violations are up 20%.”
Sabet also cautioned that the marijuana industry lobby is not a trust-worthy source for statistics.
“This is analogous to the media trusting coal-industry statistics on the environmental effects of strip mining – which they do not,” he said. “A similar cynicism to claims disseminated by this new industry need to be applied.”